The Finances of Divorce: Assets, Liabilities, Income, and Expenses
Ideally, if the parties can agree pre-suit on an amicable approach to how shared finances should be separated, the court will honor the marital settlement agreement when presented, and the divorce can be concluded much faster. These types of plans are seen as representing the interests of both parties, and the case gets treated as an uncontested divorce.
However, where the parties can’t agree, which is common, it then follows the contested divorce legal process. In Florida, finances and properties are split on what the court determines is an “equitable” approach. Additionally, where property was collected, earned, and obtained by a single spouse before marriage, that property remains his or hers versus shared. The same goes for debt and liabilities as well.
Exceptions are Possible
The court can be presented with unequal equitable distribution proposals in certain circumstances. For example, if one party wasted marital assets due to adultery, and intentionally spent marital funds on gifts, dinners, and vacations with a girlfriend or boyfriend, then the court can weigh this in consideration when determining if there has been waste, depletion, or dissipation of marital assets.
It’s also important to note that as soon as the divorce is initiated, the parties’ finances going forward are deemed separate. This avoids the problem of revenge spending and creating outrageous liabilities to spite the opposite spouse, which unfortunately can happen. Obviously, where assets cannot be split, such as a house, then the holding party also ends up with responsibility for the maintenance and taxes as well.
Help is Available
If you need help with a Sarasota divorce, the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. can help. Contact us at (941) 556-7020 and schedule a 30 minute Free Initial Phone Consultation. We’re ready to help guide you through Sarasota divorce and family law matters successfully.